Updated NFL Playoff Picture, Standings & Chances: Saints Now No. 3 Seed in NFC & Colts Eliminated With Loss

Updated NFL Playoff Picture, Standings & Chances: Saints Now No. 3 Seed in NFC & Colts Eliminated With Loss article feature image
Credit:

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Drew Brees

  • How is the NFL playoff picture shaping up in Week 15? We're tracking how the AFC and NFC standings change as games unfold.

Updated NFL Playoff Picture: Monday Night Football

The following updates are based on all of Week 15’s results.

The Indianapolis Colts are officially eliminated from playoff contention after losing to the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

New Orleans’ victory did not impact its seeding. The Saints are still No. 3 in the NFC, tied with the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers with an 11-3 record. The Seahawks have the tiebreakers on their side with two games remaining, making them the No. 1 seed for now.

New Orleans is hurt by its 8-3 record in NFC games; both the Seahawks and Packers have an 8-2 record in conference games.

Updated NFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each NFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • New Orleans Saints: 100%
  • Seattle Seahawks: 100%
  • San Francisco 49ers: 100%
  • Green Bay Packers: 100%
  • Minnesota Vikings: 98.1%
  • Dallas Cowboys: 66.6%
  • Philadelphia Eagles: 33.4%
  • Los Angeles Rams: 1.9%

Updated AFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each AFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • Baltimore Ravens: 100%
  • New England Patriots: 100%
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 100%
  • Buffalo Bills: 100%
  • Houston Texans: 98.8%
  • Tennessee Titans: 62.4%
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 37.5%
  • Cleveland Browns: 0.8%
  • Oakland Raiders: 0.5%

Updated NFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (11-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (11-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
5. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-4)

In the Hunt:

7. Los Angeles Rams (8-6)
8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

Updated AFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-2)
2. New England Patriots (11-3)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
4. Houston Texans (9-5)
5. Buffalo Bills (10-4)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6)

In the Hunt:

7. Tennessee Titans (8-6)


Updated NFL Playoff Picture: Sunday Night Football

The following updates are based on all of Sunday’s results.

The Buffalo Bills are a 10-win team for the first time since 1999, when they went 11-5 before losing in the wild-card round.

They officially clinched a playoff berth with their Sunday Night Football win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who fall to 8-6 but maintain the AFC’s No. 5 spot thanks to a tie-breaking better conference record than the 8-6 Tennessee Titans, who remain just outside the playoff picture.

While the Steelers’ spot is secure for now, their chances of making the playoffs according to our model — which simulates the rest of the season 10,000 times — is down to 39.2% from 67.7% immediately before the game.

Looking ahead to Monday Night Football between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, the Colts have an extremely slim chance to make the playoffs, but got a little help with the Steelers’ loss. Indy is currently 1.5 games behind the final wild card spot in the AFC. Our model gives the Colts a 5.7% chance of making the postseason.

The Saints, meanwhile, have already clinched a playoff spot, but they need a win to keep pace with the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers atop the NFC. Our model gives the Saints the third-best chance of finishing as the 1-seed at 11.3%, right after the 49ers (49.2%) and Seahawks (31.4%).

Updated NFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (11-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
5. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-4)

In the Hunt:

7. Los Angeles Rams (8-6)
8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

Updated AFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-2)
2. New England Patriots (11-3)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
4. Houston Texans (9-5)
5. Buffalo Bills (10-4)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6)

In the Hunt:

7. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
8. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)


Updated NFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each NFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • New Orleans Saints: 100%
  • Seattle Seahawks: 100%
  • San Francisco 49ers: 100%
  • Green Bay Packers: 100%
  • Minnesota Vikings: 96.9%
  • Dallas Cowboys: 69.5%
  • Philadelphia Eagles: 30.5%
  • Los Angeles Rams: 3.1%

Updated AFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each AFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • Baltimore Ravens: 100%
  • New England Patriots: 100%
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 100%
  • Buffalo Bills: 100%
  • Houston Texans: 96.7%
  • Tennessee Titans: 57%
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 39.2%
  • Indianapolis Colts: 5.7%
  • Cleveland Browns: 0.8%
  • Oakland Raiders: 0.6%

Updated NFL Playoff Picture: Sunday Evening

The following updates are based on the results of the 1 and 4 p.m. ET games.

And just like that, the Dallas Cowboys are back atop the NFC East.

Not long after the Philadelphia Eagles overtook the division lead with their win over the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys routed the Los Angeles Rams to tie their rivals at 7-7. Dallas currently holds the tiebreaker over Philly thanks to a head-to-head win earlier in the season, which means Dak Prescott & Co. slot right back into the No. 4 spot in the NFC playoff picture.

The Rams’ playoff hopes, meanwhile, are hanging by a thread.

The Rams (8-6) have effectively only one way to make the postseason: Secure the second wild-card spot. The problem is the 10-4 Minnesota Vikings hold a two-game lead over the Rams, so Los Angeles would have to win its final two games and have Minnesota lose its last two for the reigning NFC champions to get the NFC’s final wild-card spot. And seeing as the Rams travel to the 49ers next week while the Vikings get to close out the season with back-to-back home games, the outlook is dim in L.A.

In fact, our model — which simulates the rest of the season 10,000 times — gives the Rams only a 2.1% chance to make the postseason, down from 27.7% before their loss.

The Rams’ loss also means the following three teams are officially in: The Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

Speaking of that trio, there’s been another change atop the NFC standings: The 49ers’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons drops San Fran to 11-3, tying the Seahawks, who overtake the NFC West’s top spot thanks to their head-to-head tiebreaker win over San Francisco.

The Seahawks now sit atop the overall NFC standings, too, thanks to a tie-breaking better record against common opponents than the 11-3 Packers, who remain in the No. 2 position.

Our model — which simulates the rest of the season 10,000 times — still gives the 49ers the best chance to finish as the NFC’s 1-seed at 49.2%. It gives the Seahawks the second-best chance, though, at 30.7%, followed by the Saints (11.2%) and Packers (8.9%). All this to say: It’s possible that the Week 17 date between the Seahawks and 49ers in Seattle could not only decide the division, but the conference’s No. 1 seed.

Other teams with increasingly slim chances of making the playoffs: The Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders.

With their respective losses this afternoon, both teams could be eliminated from contention as early as tonight if the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Buffalo Bills. In that scenario, the Steelers would tie the Bills at 9-5 and actually move up to the AFC’s No. 5 spot and bump the Bills down to No. 6 thanks to a better conference record.

Updated NFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (11-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
5. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-4)

In the Hunt:

7. Los Angeles Rams (8-6)
8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

Updated AFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-2)
2. New England Patriots (11-3)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
4. Houston Texans (9-5)
5. Buffalo Bills (9-4)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

In the Hunt:

7. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
8. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)


Updated NFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each NFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • New Orleans Saints: 100%
  • Seattle Seahawks: 100%
  • San Francisco 49ers: 100%
  • Green Bay Packers: 100%
  • Minnesota Vikings: 97.9%
  • Dallas Cowboys: 68%
  • Philadelphia Eagles: 32%
  • Los Angeles Rams: 2.1%

Updated AFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each AFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • Baltimore Ravens: 100%
  • New England Patriots: 100%
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 100%
  • Buffalo Bills: 95.9%
  • Houston Texans: 93.4%
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 67.7%
  • Tennessee Titans: 38.3%
  • Indianapolis Colts: 4.2%
  • Oakland Raiders: 0.3%
  • Cleveland Browns: 0.2%

Updated NFL Playoff Picture: Sunday Afternoon

The following updates are based on the results of the 1 p.m. ET games.

The Philadelphia Eagles have taken over the NFC East lead with their win over the Washington Redskins.

And while they didn’t need it to win outright, Nigel Bradham returned a fumble for a touchdown to end the game to make it a 37-27 (instead of 31-27) victory for the Eagles, covering the 6-point spread for Philly backers.

The win, of course, bumps the Eagles into the NFC’s No. 4 spot.

The Dallas Cowboys have a chance to tie the Eagles at 7-7 with a win over the Los Angeles Rams this afternoon. Dallas would temporarily regain the top spot in that scenario thanks to a head-to-head win over Philly, setting up a potential division-defining matchup between the two rivals next week.

Our model — which simulates the rest of the season 10,000 times — gives the Eagles a 46.7% chance to win the NFC East heading into the late afternoon games and the Cowboys a 53.3% chance.

Meanwhile, the Houston Texans staved off the Tennessee Titans to take a one-game lead in the AFC South and hold onto their position as the conference’s 4-seed. The Texans will host the Titans in another potentially pivotal matchup for both team’s playoff hopes in Week 17.

Our model gives the Texans a 81.3% chance to win the division.

The Titans sit just outside of the playoff picture at 8-6. They don’t have a chance of earning the AFC’s final wild card today — even if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose and fall to 8-6, they would hold the tiebreaker over the Titans thanks to a better conference record — but a Steelers loss certainly wouldn’t hurt the Titans’ wild-card chances as they continue to fight for a playoff berth.


Updated NFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (11-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
5. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
6. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)

In the Hunt:

7. Los Angeles Rams (8-6)
8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

Updated AFC Playoff Picture & Standings

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-2)
2. New England Patriots (11-3)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
4. Houston Texans (9-5)
5. Buffalo Bills (9-4)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

In the Hunt:

7. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
8. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)


Updated NFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each NFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • New Orleans Saints: 100%
  • Seattle Seahawks: 99.7%
  • San Francisco 49ers: 99.3%
  • Green Bay Packers: 98.9%
  • Minnesota Vikings: 73.9%
  • Dallas Cowboys: 53.3%
  • Philadelphia Eagles: 46.7%
  • Los Angeles Rams: 27.7%

Updated AFC Playoff Projections

The percentage chance for each AFC team to make the playoffs, according to our simulations. Teams that are eliminated from playoff contention are not listed.

  • Baltimore Ravens: 100%
  • New England Patriots: 100%
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 100%
  • Buffalo Bills: 95.8%
  • Houston Texans: 93.9%
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 62.9%
  • Tennessee Titans: 39.3%
  • Cleveland Browns: 3.8%
  • Indianapolis Colts: 2.7%
  • Oakland Raiders: 1.6%